Social Selling, Drone Delivery and the Future of E-commerce

  • By Andy Fox

Imagine this…

You’ve finally set off with your family in your car for the long-awaited weekend-camping-trip! Everyone seems to be on cloud nine - your kids are happily singing to the song from the radio and your husband is… nodding off, as usual.  

Just then, you realize that you forgot to pack the most desired camping supplies; one which was very essential to make this trip a success – Yes, your family-sized camping tent…Ooops!

Now, you can’t even turn around, as you’re already very close to your camping venue. 

You instead pull over; turn down the music volume and say, “OK Google…turn on Speedy Drone.”

‘Speedy Drone’ Dreams

The Speedy Drone App pops up in your smart phone and asks,

What can I get you?

You say, “Please get me a family-sized camping tent at Deer’s Creek Camping Site in 30 minutes”.

The App immediately plots 4 locations of ‘Deer’s Creek’ on the map, based on the proximity of your GPS settings… “Please choose your target

As soon as you identify and tap on your camping site, another screen pops with pictures of three family-sized tents with different price range and color option buttons…

Please take your pick”.  

You quickly tap your preferred choice of tent and color and hit ‘Pay’; upon which a screen is displayed with the picture, map and the exact coordinates of the place where the merchandise will be dropped - along with the approximate ‘drop time’.

The App closes off saying, “Thank you for doing business with us!”

Remember, all of this took place under a minute, and you are well off on the road again - with the confidence that you will not be sleeping under the open sky at the camp site… and with the assurance that your husband was completely clueless, about what materialized in the last minute or so.

This sounds like the future, right?

Yes it is. But a ‘very near’ future!

Golden Era of Ecommerce

As of today, we are already hearing stories of drones under ‘test flights’ delivering pizzas and medical supplies. While it may take a while to realize this as the ‘sought after’ delivery model for Ecommerce businesses; it sure is a ‘tell-tale’ sign of how the consumers of the future will behave when it comes to consumption, or ‘shopping.’  

The biggest factor that still drives consumer ecommerce today is ‘Price’ and ‘Convenience.’

Immediate gratification has been ‘key’ to the customers, as they value getting in and out of a site at jet-speeds, to make a purchase. Major players like Amazon adopted this business model to turn itself into the retail giant, which it is today.  

However, there seems to be an increasing shift in the consumption pattern in recent years. The idea of listing out plethora of products and prices on a site to find new customers and boost sales, doesn’t quite seem to hit the nail on the head these days; as it did so effectively before – a period which in now frequently being termed as the ‘Golden Era of Ecommerce’. The decline (BI Intelligence) in the ecommerce business of giants like Target, is an indication of such a shift.

Where to - is the ‘shift’ then?


Yes, Social Commerce or Social Selling seems to be the new trend in the online consumption experience. Consumers are increasingly being aware and sceptic of the pure-play ecommerce tactics thrown at them.

Whereas, social media gives the opportunity to connect, seek for peer advice and interact with buyers and the brands, before they make their purchase decisions.

Simultaneously, Social Media reduces the friction that one would get while going through the various stages of standard ‘sales funnel’, before clicking the ‘pay’ button.

As of now we can see many Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram donning their pages with product images and ‘Shop Now’ or ‘Buy now’ buttons.

The example above shows how Facebook page is used by a watch company for its call to action ‘Buy’ button.

It is estimated that the worldwide social commerce revenue has grown from $5 billion in 2011 to $30 billion in 2015 (Statista)

Here are some interesting facts on social commerce, from HubSpot:

  • With the Facebook buy button, retailers can either let shoppers check out their products directly on Facebook, or take them to their websites. It can bring a5-10% incremental lift in revenue. 
  • Golden State Warriors offered $35 commemorative T-shirts to their followers after they won the NBA championships via a Twitter buy button. It resulted in$125,000 of merchandise sales. 
  • Instagram advertisers can use 4 CTA buttons: Install Now (for apps), Sign Up, Shop Now, and Learn More. A survey by GlobalWebIndex revealed that 49% of Instagram users would welcome buy buttons.
  • 93% Pinterest users plan purchases via the platform. In Q4, 2015, it was reported that Pinterest has 60 millionbuyable pins. Pinterest also reports an average of 90% first time buyers, making it an attractive channel for customer acquisition.

It is evident that the world of retail and ecommerce is going through a massive change through technological innovation and evolving consumer behaviours and expectations.

The only way to keep up with the future of ecommerce is to learn and watch what the leading retail giants, social media forerunners and the thought leaders in the ecommerce ecosystems are already trying their hands on - Reshaping the online commerce strategies to adapt to the increasing consumer desire (especially the Millennials and Generation Z) for instant real time access and fast turnaround; Twenty four/7.

If you would like to know more or would like to contribute to this article I want to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249-5570 or email

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Andy Fox - Author

I have a firm belief there is only one great challenge in life… And that is… To be the best version of you possible. I have lived my whole life to this tune. I love that I am not perfect and I love that every day I get up and make at least one change in my life that makes it better, one change that takes me closer to my life’s goals.

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